Thursday, February 28, 2019

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

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I received this book for free from Katherine Tegen Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay MejiaWe Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Series: We Set the Dark on Fire #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 26th, 2019
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, LGBTQIAP+, YA
Source: Katherine Tegen Books
Buy on Amazon

In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival. 

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.

Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.

And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.

Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

Currently, I am staring at a blank document trying to figure out how words work because I am not entirely sure how to even begin to describe We Set the Dark on Fire? When I first started hearing about the book, I thought it was a fantasy but then my friend, Shannon said it was more dystopia so I really didn’t know what genre I was diving into. I did go in expecting some badass girls and I GOT SOME BADASS GIRLS.

Upon finishing, I think I can say that while this book isn’t like a futuristic sci-fic novel, labelling it dystopia is not wholly inaccurate. WHICH, if you like me stopped reading dystopia half a decade ago because it was all bland, I promise We Set the Dark on Fire is both gayer and better than any dystopia you have ever read.

At the Medio School for Girls are separated and trained for two seperate wife roles – Primera and Segunda. Primeras are cool and collected while Segundas are emotional. Daniela Vargas is about the graduate at the top of her class and be married into the most powerful family in Medio, but her future relies on no one finding out the truth – that she was born on the other side of the wall.

When Dani marries into the Garcia family as a Primera, she really doesn’t know what she is getting into. She certainly didn’t expect to have to continue dealing with Carmen – a girl who never missed a chance to put her down. AND SHE CERTAINLY didn’t expect a cold husband who is adamant on not letting her into his world. When Dani is approached with the chance to be a spy for the rebel forces, she isn’t sure she is ready to give up everything her parents worked so hard for. But the deeper she digs, the more committed she becomes to a free medio (and bringing down the motherfucking patriarchy.)

So Dani? She is one of the best characters I’ve had the chance to read about. I love that within the context of the novel, she is occasionally allowed to be selfish (when she isn’t ready to give up a safe future for an uncertain one.) I love that her bravery isn’t defined by fearlessness or overcoming fear. It is defined by her choosing to do things that make her afraid.

Carmen, the girl who was a bitch to Dani for ages, is equally well-written and I was here for the romance that blooms between the two. The shippy feels, my god, they were intense. I loved the softness between Carmen and Dani and just how good they are to one another.

The world is also very well developed. We start with the mythology and slowly move into the physical world. Honestly, I think a map would have helped a bit, especially of the main city? But that’s mostly because I love having visuals to help with physical spaces. THERE IS ALSO a bunch of food porn and I was here for it.

We Set the Dark on Fire has received a lot of hype already and I am here to tell you that the hype is not wrong. We Set the Dark on Fire is an incredibly powerful book and breathes life into a genre I was so SURE I was done with. If you’re done with the patriarchy and need a book about some badass girls, READ THIS BOOK.


4.5 Hot Espressos

The Heist Novel We Need: Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig

Posted by on 01/14/2019 • 1 Comment

In 2019 and we’re finally getting all the heist/thief books we deserve. Death Prefers Blondes is one such heist book and IT IS AMAZING. Maybe you’ve read Caleb Roehrig before or maybe you’re drawn by the fantastic premise and gorgeous gover. Regardless, this book is both quintessentially Roehrig and also different from what he has written before. His previous books are more on the fun end of the spectrum (WHICH IS NOT A BAD THING. I love fun books!) and while Death Prefers Blondes is incredibly fun, it also has a tendency to punch you in the guts. TO SAY EVEN MORE because I clearly cannot shut up, Death Prefers Blondes is not a short book but it FLIES by. It was so well written and visuals/imagery were done so…

Lush & Powerful: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Posted by on 12/05/2018 • 6 Comments

I am a mood reader and my mood this year has led me to read WAY WAY WAY more contemporary novels than fantasy novels, even though there was once a time when I would avoid contemporary novels like the plague. I dove into Girls of Paper and Fire because it sounded great but also came highly recommended from a friend. The first time around, I got to about 10% and then stopped reading because I just didn’t have the energy for a fantasy but then, I picked it up again and got completely sucked in. Girls of Paper and Fire was so refreshing not just because it’s so wholly different from the contemporaries I have been reading lately but also because it takes some common fantasy tropes and puts its…

Needs More Diversity: Queer, There and Everywhere by Sarah Prager

Posted by on 05/02/2017 • 0 Comments

I feel like somewhat of a black sheep because I didn’t absolutely love this book but *insert shrug emoji*. I love that we get to learn about so many amazing individuals, I love the detail each section goes into and how easy it is to read and yet, when I look back at the people who are represented in this book, it seems like there isn’t as much rep as their could be. Queer, There and Everywhere is essentially trying to present readers with the stories of amazing queer people across time and remind people that queer people have always been here. For a book trying to achieve that though, it primarily draws on queer people from the western world and those closely tied with the historical movements in the western world….

The Infinite Variants of YA: The One Where Erin Gough Has to Choose Between Being Lost at Sea or in the Woods

Posted by on 04/20/2017 • 0 Comments

HELLO and welcome back to this fancy feature that Nick (Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist) and I are collaborating on! This month I am sharing a fun interview with the delightful Erin Gough! RAISE A GLASS TO (freeedoooommm) to ERIN GOUGH!

1. If you could be any color in the world, what color would you be? 

Green. It’s the colour of nature, not to mention the Wicked Witch of the West. Kermit is green, too, and that frog can dance.

2. Who does Delilah consider to be a person who has everything put together?

Rosa Barea, definitely. From a distance, Rosa seems smart, talented and sure of herself. Of course, when Del gets to know her better, she realises that she’s not as together as she seems.

3. What song would Delilah think…